Royale Takes Nothing For Granted

Lexi Tucker
Posted on April 11, 2017

Director of Sales for Royale Coach Builders Steve Edelmann

Director of Sales for Royale Coach Builders Steve Edelmann

HAVERHILL, Mass. — What does it take to be a great coachbuilder? It’s not just skill, reasonable prices, or innovative ideas. Steve Edelmann, director of sales for Royale Coach Builders, says the way to ensure satisfaction and stronger loyalty through repeat business is to back your product and not treat your customers as if they owe you anything.

“We don’t take anything for granted, because we feel we must earn the customer’s trust and business every time,” he says.

Don’t Sit Still

Since the company was founded in 1982, three challenging economic periods have forced them to restructure and diversify their products. This has only made them more of a force to be reckoned with. When the economic crisis hit in 2008, for example, they began to expand into building broadcast vans for TV stations on the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Chevrolet, and Ford platforms.

Now that the economy has stabilized and limousine companies are prospering again, Royale is building a variety of stretch limousines, stretched sedans, SUV conversions, and Sprinter and Transit conversions.

Fast Facts

Location: Haverhill, Mass. and Long Island City, N.Y.

Service: Custom coachbuilder

Founder: Milton Smith (brothers Cabot and MacGregor Smith are now owners)

Founded: 1982

Employees: 70


Contact: (800) 544-5587, (978) 374-4530 (outside of the US)

Royale’s most popular livery vehicles are the Lincoln MKT Town Car 120-in. stretch limousine and Cadillac XTS 70-in. with a fourth or fifth-door, Sprinter and Transit limo conversion and minicoach shuttles with a slider or bus door, and luxury vans upfitted into paratransit vehicles that include a wheelchair lift for companies serving clients who need ADA compliant transportation.

More recently, operators have started to move into the Sprinter and Transit territory because clients would like to avoid the stigma of being driven in a limousine, Edelmann says. It’s likely they’ve seen a surge in popularity because they look more like a van on the outside, but have the amenities of a an executive shuttle, can fit more people in them, and can be used for a variety of different events like weddings, funerals, and road shows.

Royale is always trying to improve, although they feel they’ve built some of the best vehicles on the market, Edelmann says. “We’re never happy unless we are innovating and improving.”

Quality Comes First

“Everything we do, we want to make sure the vehicle is built similar to the way the original equipment manufacturer would build it,” Edelmann says. They’ve built many prototypes for Lincoln and Cadillac, as well as the first Lincoln Town Car extended sedan for Cary International in 2002. Royale was also the first coachbuilder to be tested under Lincoln’s QVM program in 1990 when it was formed under Roy Radakovich, the Lincoln engineer who originated the program.

Royale creates a quality vehicle on a variety of different platforms.

Royale creates a quality vehicle on a variety of different platforms.

Since then, they’ve also received certification as a Cadillac Master Coachbuilder, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Master Upfitter, and Ford QVM Transit Conversion Builder as well. “We feel it’s important to make sure our customers have a vehicle that’s a quality product backed by the manufacturer of the vehicle with both the warranty and safety able to withstand additional weight and durability requirements,” Edelmann says.

To ensure quality and timely customer response and service, a builder has to understand the details and specs of each vehicle, Edelmann says. For example, Royale develops and designs its own electrical systems in-house, so if their customers have an electrical issue, it can be easily handled by knowledgeable employees.

If operators purchase a vehicle from a coachbuilder who deals with outside vendors, they would have to call the builder of the electrical system to get the problem solved, resulting in more vehicle down time and lost profits.

“If someone has a problem with our product, we can send them what they need to immediately solve the issue, eliminating down time and expediting the repair,” Edelmann says.

Under the same ownership for 35 years, Royale supports local associations as well as the NLA. It believes in giving back to the industry by helping resolve issues facing chauffeured transportation.

Related Topics: coach-builder profiles, coachbuilders, custom coachbuilders, industry vendors, Royale, Steve Edelmann

Lexi Tucker Senior Editor
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